In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, many are left wondering what’s going to happen next. However, some in the Oxford community have decided to take a different route. Spreading smiles instead of germs, Miami University students are using this pandemic as an opportunity to be creative and look into different hobbies for the remainder of the remote semester.
Despite being stuck in her home, Abby Stephenson wasn’t deterred from wanting to make a positive impact on someone’s day. It only motivated her to tap into her creative side and make it happen.
Stephenson, a sophomore middle childhood education major, was inspired by the pandemic to utilize her talent in calligraphy and drawing that she began learning during her high school career.
While at home in Mason, Ohio, Stephenson started to post and create art on her personal Instagram page to promote positivity during these difficult times.
“For me, it’s something that brightens my day and I thought maybe it would for other people,” Stephenson said. “Whether I’m close with them or not, I try to pick a fun, simple message that I can put on the drawing or painting to make them feel a little better about the craziness going on.”
Stephenson continues to promote her work and offers to send her creations to people during this time.
She hopes to continue with this creative venture in the long run and plans to create her own artwork Instagram page, as well as to offer her work on Etsy or Redbubble.
Spring break plans may have shifted, but that didn’t stop Claire Eckel from pursuing what she always wanted to do.
With only three days of sewing knowledge, Eckel, a junior math education major, took to making various kinds of garments such as shirts, jackets and scrunchies as a way to pass the time during the pandemic.
Eckel, a Toledo native, was inspired by her mother, who’s been sewing her whole life.
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Her mother taught her the fundamentals of sewing using her old sewing machine and old fabric. Now Eckel is doing her own sewing projects.
During this time, Eckel is worried not only about the virus, but also the wellbeing of her mother who’s currently working as a nurse alongside patients to fight COVID-19.
“Sometimes distracting yourself from the situation is helpful,” Eckel said. “Obviously you have to be aware of stuff, but a distraction never hurts in especially this situation, so learning new hobbies is great.”
Eckel hopes to continue her knowledge of sewing by learning how to hem and begin making more garments in the future.
In the middle of the pandemic, Jordan Podojil is in Cleveland, Ohio, defying the odds and writing her very first book called “The Female Founding Edit.”
This idea began when she connected with Erik Koester, Georgetown University business professor and founder of the Creator Institute. He reached out to her via LinkedIn to see if she was interested in the program called the Creators Institute.
The program started at Georgetown to give people the opportunity to explore the foundation of creating and publishing your own book within a five-month timespan.
Podojil, a senior emerging technologies in business + design and fashion entrepreneurship major, intends to shine a light on women in the startup world while guiding women entrepreneurs to find their voice and confidence.
“I’ve learned to stay focused because it’s really hard not having specific deadlines … It’s kind of a personal push through,” Podojil said.
By writing her book on her own schedule, she’s learned how to balance both school work and her extracurricular efforts. Spring break, and the freedom it provided from class work, gave her the perfect place to start.
“[Having spring break] actually helped a lot because I have a lot more time to take a break, but with that break, I get to have more time writing,” Podojil said.
Through her book, she hopes to explore different perspectives on discrimination in the workplace as well as how women utilize their female empowerment. The book is expected to be released during the winter of 2020.
Despite the setbacks that came with spring break this year, it’s clear Miami students cannot be stopped from pursuing their passions. No matter the situation, these students have shown how Miamians can use their time wisely and create unique opportunities for themselves and others.